What it's all About

40% of food produced in Canada goes to waste every year. We created CookMe, a smartphone application to help reduce food waste, and allow Canadians to save the money lost on discarding expired groceries.

CookMe provides a way to scan receipts from grocery stores to remember what you have in your kitchen and pantry at home. It logs when your groceries were purchased to help you keep track of expiration dates and reminds you when you have food that is approaching its best before date.

CookMe also serves as a useful database of your groceries at home. You can use the app to help plan your shopping list and answer the classic question, "Do we have _____ at home?" Using its database of your groceries, CookMe also provides suggested recipes based on the ingredients you have in your kitchen, and provides in app access to quick, one-minute recipe videos.

For those who are always discarding mouldy bread and sour milk, CookMe is the solution to limit waste, save money, and keep your kitchen stocked.

How we built it

We built CookMe using an adapted hackaton-Agile process which involved 4 hour sprints, regular reprioritization and validation with other hackers, sponsors and organizers.

It's an Android app which leverages the ZXing API to scan QR codes on receipts which it uses to store grocery objects in an SQLite database. CookMe also uses YouTube's public API to query data from Tasty's recipe YouTube videos, which it embeds in the application's UI. The entire project was version controlled through Git.

Challenges we ran into

Finding our Market Finding our target audience was difficult since the monetization of the app can operate in multiple ways. On one hand, the app can be grown to users who would be interested in a coupon feature.

On the other hand, grocery stores may be interested in suggesting products to the customer while they shop, making the product B2B.

Running multiple threads When making https requests through the YouTube API, we had the issue of responses not being received before synchronous intervention. We ended up incorporating an executor service which allowed us to wait for all the tasks to complete before the control signal continued onwards.

Not Time Boxing Certain Tasks Some original features and UI implementations offer poor value to the customer for the time spent developing them. We ended up dropping some of these features to pursue more valuable ones, however time boxing features is important when working in an environment which thrives on effectuation.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

None of us have worked on an Android application like CookMe. Being able to incorporate an SQL database, embedding YouTube videos, a QR code reader and having a shippable MVP all compose what we are proud of accomplishing during the hackathon.

What we learned

Validation is incredibly important when creating a product from the ground up. Working in an Agile enviroment is great for this and allowed us to go back to the drawing board every few hours to make sure we're heading in the right direction.

KISS - We had plans for implementing AR into the product for our hack. Despite how cool AR is, creating a product that focuses on what the customer cares about should always take precedent. We were able to add much more value to the customer through simple tables and databases than we would have if we used AR.

What's next for CookMe

A suggested products feature had positive feedback during the hackathon. Being able to suggest products to a customer so that they can try some unique recipes would be beneficial to both grocery stores and customers.

A coupon integration feature would allow customers to save even more money than if they didn't use our application.

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